Justin Holbrook believes the loss of Matty Smith during Thursday’s game at Leeds was a key factor in Saints’ 24-22 defeat.
Smith was forced out of the game at Headingley after just six minutes after catching a stray arm from his captain Jon Wilkin as they attempted a tackle.
Doctors were unable to stitch the wound and Smith was taken to hospital.
“He is our main organiser and it made it harder on us for sure – to nearly get away with it would have been huge,” said Holbrook.
“Matty is in a bad way. It wasn’t just a cut, he got his eyelid ripped open. Hopefully, he will be alright. We couldn’t stitch it so he had to go to hospital. Hopefully it isn’t damaged but it is a lot worse than a cut.
“I speak for everyone involved in the club in hoping he is okay.”
England internationals Kallum Watkins and Ryan Hall got the all-important tries in the last 16 minutes that enabled Leeds to come from 16-12 down, but Holbrook says Wilkin’s sin-binning midway through the second half was another crucial moment in the game.
“I thought the sin-binning was massive and I thought it was harsh too,” he added.
“But to not have it go all your own way, lose a half-back, have a man in the sin-bin, have a lopsided penalty count and nearly win a game against quality opposition on their home ground shows the players love playing for each other.
“I was just as proud of the boys tonight as I was last week – we didn’t get two points but for the game to go the way it did showed some character.
“You can’t take anything away from Leeds – they haven’t been happy with how they have been playing and rectified some of that tonight.
“They had us under pressure for a lot of the game so to nearly be able to win certainly isn’t an issue of how we performed away from home tonight.
“We know we need to string some wins together, we understand that, but as I said I was just as proud tonight as I was last week.
“But we didn’t get the two points and that hurt us.”